I’m totally kidding about nice people being evil. I love friendly people I can talk to easily, and it’s kind of rude when you’ve just met someone and they aren’t relatively nice to you. My warning applies when it comes to close friends and people you’ve known for many years who are still strictly nice all of the time, always smiling and always acting like things are just fine until they turn around and stab you in the back with a giant butcher’s knife and that grin becomes a little more menacing. I digress… This post is about changing the definition of what actions make someone a kind and good person, and what actions are so heinous that the person who committed such abhorrent tomfoolery should be considered an asshole, a jackass, or a dick etc…
Now, I’ve always had a few opposing views about what an “asshole” really is. I like to surround myself with people that many would consider assholes. Is it because I hate myself? Au contraire, I love myself very much, it’s just that I value honesty among friends and if I’m going to go off and do some convoluted thing I need someone to stop me and say “Hey, you’re being an idiot, are you sure you want to do this?”. If I go off into another room I need to trust that they won’t say “hey isn’t she an idiot?” to everyone but me. I like to be the first one to know that I’m being an idiot and I want friends who keep it real. I like real friends who are loyal, actually give a shit about me, and are completely honest. Who doesn’t? This seems like a give-in, but we’ve all had that two faced friend who’s sweet to you one day and the next is betraying secrets or using information you’ve given them, like you’ve just handed them ammunition for their gun so that they can shoot you, step over your body, and then get ahead. Not all cases are so extreme, but they’re are many milder forms of being this kind of asshole.
It’s the nice ones you have to watch out for.
I’m not saying that nice friends can’t be loyal, honest, and trustworthy, but I have found that the ones who really fear confrontation, or don’t care enough to make the effort of talking to you about a problem they have, are the ones who lie to your face. I had this one friend who was pro at this, and I let her off the hook many times because I liked her anyway, and she had major daddy issues that led to an overly competitive nature and resentment towards me. So I let it slide, which was ultimately a mistake. How did this end? With her lying so egregiously behind my back that I couldn’t look her in the face anymore. She damaged so many worthwhile (and not worthwhile) relationships that I wondered how I didn’t see it coming. Nowadays, if I saw her around I would probably just frantically splash holy water at her while simultaneously flipping the bird and watching her sizzle, or I would just politely greet her and be on my way. She turned out to be so insidious that I now have a fear of nice, two faced, assholes.
I think the witch from “Into The Woods” said it best:
You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice
I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right!
This illustrates my problem with nice people. Being nice without being honest is a selfish act that is verging on a form of betrayal when it comes to close friends. It’s an easy way to protect yourself from the negative side effects of telling the truth. Remember what Dumbledore said? “Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Many people don’t like hearing about the truth, and the backlash of this can be unpleasant or down right hostile. If it’s someone you actually care about though, like your friend, not telling the truth would be a coward’s act because:
1. You’re not taking the opportunity to help this person by giving them your honest perspective instead of just shooting butterflies up their ass.
2. It means in some sense you’re afraid of your friend or afraid of hurting their feelings. I understand this, I don’t like hurting feelings either, so bring up the issue with tact and grace. Or at least try.
What do you think your friend would like more? You consulting them about their questionable behavior now? Or them regretting that tattoo of their gf/bf initials after they’ve broken up? Immediate action for me please, I’d rather not be branded for life, and many stupid decisions are more serious than that. We need our friends to give us a good view of ourselves at time, because we can all get lost in our own perspectives.
Now that we’ve gone through the realm of platonic friendships, let’s move onto another topic of discussion widely bemoaned and debated. Why do girls always go for “bad boys” or “assholes”?
I can just see it now. The trademark nice boy, sweet, quiet, obliging, gentle, but boring, is sitting on the first step on his front porch, his head in his hands. He sadly looks up at the road as cars pass wondering why Suzy dumped him for Tommy, that asshole who talks too loud, makes crude jokes, and has gotten with every girl in town. It’s so cliché it hurts. Or we could go back to Barney from HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother). His heart broken by his hippy lover because she left him for a business man who makes bank. Barney then suits up, gets a corporate job, and becomes a trademark “asshole,” getting babes and shirking commitments.
Look. No self respecting girl wants an actual asshole who’s going to treat her badly, and if she does, perhaps some self evaluation about why she’s attracted to these kinds of boys is needed. We do however, want men and not piddling puddles of low self esteem hiding behind the cover of “I’m a nice guy”. I’ve been hit on by so many of these “nice guys” and dated enough of them to know that they’re not actually all that nice (granted there are always exceptions). The nice guys who are unsuccessful with woman, and life (unsuccessful meaning they are unhappy), are often too selfish and self conscious to really care for anther human and need a lot of soul seeking to figure out what’s missing in their life, because no girl can fill the void.
Guys and girls who are considered “assholes” however, are often considered this because they don’t run with the herd. They do what they want, and say what they think and because of this they are resented. Maybe sometimes they could be more gentle with people’s fragile egos, but I still value honesty above this. I’m now dating someone who could be construed as an asshole by others because he is very straightforward. He is also very thoughtful, puts himself in others shoes, is quick to compliment, be friendly, and quick to help people with their homework or problems. He is honest and genuinely concerned for others, but people still consider him to be kind of a jerk for telling them exactly what he thinks when asked (and sometimes without being asked). It always seems that people consider someone an “asshole” whenever they break the mold of other peoples perceptions of them and do something unexpected to better themselves. We’ve gotta let all the assholes of the world spread their wings and fly, especially if we care about them.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while so it’s great to finally articulate. Maybe I’m just jaded, but I think this subject is worth some good old fashioned introspection and thought.
Disclaimer: I’m a fan of being kind to strangers, kind when the opportunity arises, and a ray of sunshine to everyone I meet, and if you were to ask anyone who knew me they’re be like, Melanie? Oh she’s so nice! I’d just prefer to be honest ray of sunshine looking out for the well being of others instead of selfishly guarding that tricky little label of being “nice”.